Page:Shelley, a poem, with other writings (Thomson, Debell).djvu/131

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.

Introduction, The Lamb, The Chimney Sweeper, the Laughing Song, A Cradle Song, Holy Thursday, Infant Joy, The Divine Image; what holy and tender, and beautiful babe-lullabyes, babe joy-songs, are these! The ideal Virgin Mother might have sung them to her infant; lambs, and doves, and flowers might comprehend

tried elaborately to argue himself into belief in the existence of the sun. "I feel the warmth, I see the light and see by the light: what do you want to argue about? You may call it sun, moon, comet, star, or Will-o'-the-wisp, if so it pleases you; all I know and care for is this, that day by day it warms and lights me." Such would have been the sum of his reply to any questioner; for he was emphatically a seer, and had the disdain of all seers for the pretentions of the gropers and guessers who are blind. Like Swedenborg, he always relates things heard and seen; more purely a mystic than Swedenborg, he does not condescend to dialectics and scholastic divinity. Those who fancy that a dozen stony syllogisms seal up the perennial fountain of our deepest questionings, will affirm that Blake's belief was an illusion. But an illusion constant and self-consistent and harmonious with the world throughout the whole of man's life, wherein does this differ from a reality? Metaphysically we are absolutely unable to prove any existence: we believe that those things really exist which we find pretty constant and consistent in their relations to us,—a very sound practical but very unsound philosophical belief. Blake and Swedenborg and other true mystics (Jesus among them) undoubtedly had senses other than ours; it is as futile for us to argue against the reality of their perceptions as it would be false in us to pretend that our perceptions are the same. As, however, Blake was supremely a mystic, it is but fair to add that he (and the same may be affirmed of Jesus) was unlike common Christians as thoroughly as he was unlike common Atheists; he lived in a sphere far removed from both. In the clash of the creeds, it is always a comfort to remember that sects with their sectaries, orthodox and heterodox, could not intersect at all if they were not in the same plane. Blake's esteem for argumentation may be read in one couplet:

If the sun and moon should doubt,
They'd immediately go out.